People would always think that traveling is just a way to relax and a escape from the hassle of your office workstation or boredom from your own home. But many of us didn’t realize that apart from the recreation and relief that we can get from it, we should not forget that there is a big role that we need to be part of in every place we go. And that is being a…
When I started traveling, I thought that it is just about exploring places, crossing out your bucket list and bragging “Been There. Done that.” but as I am being exposed with the places I only seen in books/TV before, I noticed that there are already a huge change. Beaches are becoming dirty, mountains are dumped with garbage while some other places were become congested with informal settlers.
A friend of mine invited me to become part of a campaign, should I better say, an advocacy. An advocacy to encourage every Filipino to become a responsible traveler and an active steward of nature, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the said event because I was off somewhere together with some friends which I haven’t seen for a long time. I was surprised that while they were discussing about saving the Philippine beaches, there I was exposed in real situation. Garbage hanging in the mangrove forest, broken liquor bottles scattered along the shore, and more plastics in the seawater.
These are my thoughts and little experiences that I would like to share about the 6 steps to responsible travel that they mentioned.
1. Research your destination.
For some, a trip without any plan would be more exciting than having an organized itinerary. Well I’m pretty sure that would only be applicable for a long term traveling. For a semi-nomadic or microvacationist like me, a well researched itinerary or plan would help maximize your trips or you will have a better alternative of things to do in case your first plan does not work.
2. Recognize rules.
One of the most important thing every traveling person should know. It is not accepted that you will say you don’t know the rules. You have to be responsible for your own self. Most places are like museum/parks etc are posting rules and regulation upon entry to the premises. Be watchful of those. Besides, these are implemented for your safety as well.
3. Reduce waste.
When I become a traveler, this is one of the most important thing I learned. With all the news spreading all over different forms of media about climate change, it must something we should be aware of. In our own little way we can help preserving environment. Below are some of the things I usually do.
a. Bring water bottle. This will help to lessen the increase of empty plastic bottles, you can also save a big part of your expenses while traveling if you a water container since you can just refill it every time.
b. Bring reusable food containers. Rather than using disposable plastics and Styrofoam. If you can really avoid bringing disposable plastic, try to minimize them and dispose it properly. Say if you’re in a beach; don’t just dump it near the shore, as it will be easily eroded to the sea when the tide gets high. Better yet, bring it back at home.
c. Boodle Feast. Eating using your hands in a boodle fight is cool, better than using plastic spoon and fork, and even better when shared with friends/families.
4. Respect Wildlife.
I am guilty of this, so please accept my apology. I remember one time; I bought a dried starfish from a kid out of pity. I don’t know if I have the right to blame them with what they are doing, but I guess the right thing I do that time was not supporting them so they will not be encouraged to do it again. During low tide, this is the time where you can actually see more sea creatures, if you are really excited, just grab your camera and take a picture of it. Don’t try to poke it with stick or anything, or remove it from its place. They might also be harmful o dangerous, you’ll never know until it hurts you. So please be careful. The sea is their natural habitat, there’s a reason why it is there. They are part of what we call ecosystem, and they performing a big role in ecological balance.
5. Report illegal activities.
We are all steward of this planet. We all have our own responsibility to play. It is our duty to act and do something to save our environment. If in case you there are illegal activities in your area, reporting it to the authority will be a great help. Some of us might be afraid to do this because you’ll never know if they are protected with some “people in position”, don’t lose hope, there are NGO’s who are advocates of preserving/protecting the environment, you can get in touch with them.
6. Repost and retweet..
With billions of netizens nowadays, a simple picture or word can become viral. It can reach millions of people all over the world even less than an hour, so rather than posting nonsense materials, why not become an advocate of nature. I am encouraging you to start it. You’re online right, because you are reading this. Start posting a campaign, don’t know how? Support The Footprint Projects initiated by PhilippineBeaches.org
Be a Responsible Traveler!